Illustration by Lexey Gonzalez for an article on Rosé
The singer tells the story of her rise to the top and a lost love in "R." (Illustration by Lexey Gonzalez, Wichita State University)

Rosé’s Solo Debut Gives Fans a Glimpse Into Her Heart

Taking a step back from the high energy, girl crush music of Blackpink, the group’s main vocalist reflects on life and love with her debut single album, ‘R.’

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Illustration by Lexey Gonzalez for an article on Rosé

Taking a step back from the high energy, girl crush music of Blackpink, the group’s main vocalist reflects on life and love with her debut single album, ‘R.’

Born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, Rosé joined South Korean music company YG Entertainment in 2012 and debuted in Blackpink as the main vocalist in 2016. The singer is well known in South Korea for having a unique and captivating singing voice that has stolen the hearts of many. In the Netflix documentary “Blackpink: Light up the Sky,” Rosé revealed she had been working hard on songwriting and was anticipating her solo release for a long time.

With the release of her debut solo project, “R,” a single album that took two years to produce, the 24-year-old singer was finally able to (re)introduce herself. Rosé said during a global press conference that this was her introduction as a solo artist, so she wanted to put her most honest self into the album. As the singer prepared for the album, Rosé claims that she actually got to take a look back on herself quite a lot and learned that she was a person who heals through music.

Rosé opened up about her emerging artistry, detailing her creative process and the more personal themes of the album as her passion for music and storytelling is what truly fulfills her. Through the album-making process, the singer learned to take creative control by taking part in label meetings, co-writing the lyrics and giving input on the album design. It was also her decision to record both “On the Ground” and the B-side track “Gone” in English. It was also revealed that Rosé had first recorded “Gone” two years ago, and had been anticipating its release since then.

“On the Ground” gives fans another look into Rosé’s perspective on everything the singer has achieved since Blackpink’s debut in 2016. The song takes a step back with raw vocals backed by a simple guitar and EDM beat. The lyrics reflect Rosé’s rise to fame, from singing and playing piano in her childhood home to flying to South Korea to become a trainee and becoming one of South Korea’s biggest points of pride.

The message is evident in the chorus: “I worked my whole life / Just to get high, just to realize / Everything I need is on the ground.” After reflecting on her life as a global K-pop superstar, Rosé realizes what really matters in her life already lies within herself. The singer also said the song is about looking for answers and a purpose in life. Sometimes when people are always on the go, they forget to take care of what actually matters to them. “On the Ground” is the kind of song that says there’s no need to go out and look for what you’re missing because it’s already right in front of you.

“Gone” was the B-side track that Rosé performed at Blackpink’s virtual concert, “The Show,” in January 2021. The singer personally requested for the chance to perform her new song for her fans ahead of the album’s release at the virtual concert. “Gone” is a song that encapsulates the strengths of Rosé’s soulful vocals. In this song, the singer remembers a lover that is no longer around and the pain she experienced because of them. She talks about feelings of depression and disappointment with lyrics like “to color me blue” — in the first 10 seconds of the teaser video, Rosé can be seen cast in shades of blue, further rendering her emotions throughout the song about how her love is gone.

After four days, Rosé’s solo album “R” received more than 400,000 preorders, which is the highest figure ever for a Korean female solo artist as reported on the KBS world radio portal. Rose’s song “On the Ground” topped the iTunes charts in over 50 countries and several music charts in South Korea as well. The singer also broke the decade-long record that was set by PSY back in 2012 for his “Gangnam Style” music video, and was viewed 36 million times in its first 24 hours. There’s no doubt that Rosé achieved great success with her solo debut. As of now, the singer is currently promoting her songs in South Korea on music programs and fans can be assured that Rosé will definitely win awards.

Blackpink member Jennie made her solo debut with “Solo” back in 2018 and according to Straits Times, Jisoo and Lisa have also been working on their respective solo albums. Blackpink’s fans can look forward to what the other two members will bring to the table. For now, fans can stream Rosé’s solo debut album “R” on all music streaming platforms and await the further success that is yet to come.

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